The newly refurbished Independent Man is astonishing. The usual suspects will gather today, Saturday, at 9:30am for the official unveiling. The building will then remain open until 2pm for public viewing. After that the public can visit during regular State House hours on weekdays. What a great way to celebrate Rhode Island Independence Day. The statue will remain on display until a new marble base has been built. Once his perch atop the dome is ready, up he goes, probably sometime in the fall. Do not miss this opportunity to see this stunning figure up close. Bring the children.

The bronze and gold statue is 14 feet tall to the tip of his spear. It was cast here in Providence in five sections at Gorham Manufacturing and then riveted together.

From Hidden Treasure: Public Sculpture in Providence, Freeman and Lasky.

The architects’ first concept for the summit was a classically styled nymph holding an anchor in her left hand and spearlike leaves in her right. [Stanford White was probably already holding auditions.] The Rhode Island Historical Society urged that a statue representing Roger Williams be placed on top of the State House; the capitol commissioners hoped for a representation of Freedom and Sovereignty. Charles McKim declared that no one knew what Roger Williams really looked like and that any such figure placed that high would appear to be “a bunch of pantaloons, jacket and hat.”

The State House is closed weekends and holidays. Hours: Monday thru Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Rhode Island State House, 82 Smith Street, (directions)





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